Branching Out // A Willow Tree Grows in Winslow

By Ellen Boughn

Welcome to Willowtree Market, where owner Heather Jaynes and her five-member staff have created a welcoming space, rich with ambiance, that lives up to her goal of building a wellness hub in downtown Winslow.

Staff members readily share an extensive cache of knowledge about homeopathic, naturopathic and herbal products. For instance, customers might learn that in addition to its role on a spice shelf, curcumin, a key ingredient in turmeric, is a widely used antioxidant and pain reliever.

In an era when even traditional medicine increasingly takes a less jaundiced look at “alternative” medicines, more and more individuals are seeking a complete mind, body and soul approach to wellbeing. And Willowtree, in full Bainbridge style, fits the bill.

Tucked down a covered walkway on the south side of Winslow Way, Willowtree boasts shelves stocked with a variety of supplements, herbs, superfoods and essential oils, and the cosmetic department includes skin care products and makeup.

Natural wines, yoga supplies, handcrafted woodwork and ceramics by local artisans are on display and for sale, too. Recognizing that some are dubious about the safety of natural products, Jaynes makes sure Willowtree is filled only with products that have been tested and reviewed by outside parties to ensure the products are what they claim to be.

There’s also a cozy room just off the main floor of the store where nutritionist Stephanie Dalton sees clients. In addition to its retail offerings, Willowtree hosts a series of ever-changing workshops, many of which are free.

One long standing event is a free Meditation Sampler on the first Sunday of the month from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., led by a different meditation professional where attendees experience different meditation methods and techniques to discover what is most useful to them.

In another step to make Willowtree more than an ordinary health food store, Jaynes hosts a blog on the store’s website that presents informational posts by experts, including local naturopathic physician Christina Hinchcliffe. Readers will benefit from topics ranging from Hinchcliffe’s recent post regarding help for children suffering from nighttime coughs, to healthy recipes, to understanding astrology.

Jaynes’ entrepreneurship began with a cleaning service she started when she was just 14. She continued the business in college but started noticing that she was developing health issues such as increased migraines. After taking a hard look at the ingredients in cleaning supplies, she worked with a chemist to develop a line of healthy cleaning products called Heather’s Natural Products.

Her first customer was Town & Country Market. Once she sold the company, Jaynes was looking for something that would challenge her entrepreneurial spirit, support her interest in promoting a healthy lifestyle, and help build community in downtown Bainbridge.

She found her place when she purchased the store previously known as Willow’s in late 2015. Wanting to honor the shop’s three-decade-long owner, Willow Follett, Jaynes changed the name to Willowtree not only as a nod to the store’s history, but also to announce that while much of the store would remain the same, it was a new day with a new owner.